Take a look at the lotus leaf. It floats on water. It is surrounded by water. It even has droplets of water on its surface. But it is still untouched by water.
The lotus leaf has a coating that acts as a shield between the leaf’s surface and the water. This shield helps it stay on water, and yet remain detached from the water. Water can never stick to its surface.
Let’s see what we can learn from these qualities of the lotus leaf.
What can you learn from the lotus leaf?
The lotus leaf is a metaphor for your mind and the water for thoughts and beliefs surrounding you. The droplets of water on the leaf can be considered the thoughts/beliefs that you subscribe to.
Just like the lotus leaf, you are surrounded by a multitude of thoughts and beliefs. The media, the government, your friends, relatives, gurus and pretty much everyone you meet holds and proposes a set of beliefs and they are trying to influence you with it.
Similarly, just like the droplets of water on the leaf, you yourself have subscribed to a set of beliefs.
And all that is perfectly fine.
It’s not possible to live life without thoughts and beliefs. Just like the lotus leaf cannot thrive without water, you cannot thrive without beliefs.
But what you can do (just like the lotus leaf does) is to create a layer of separation between you and your beliefs so beliefs don’t stick to you. And you can create this layer of separation through awareness.
Once you become aware of a particular thought/belief, you no longer are one with the thought/belief. At this moment, you have created a separation. You are now a witness to the belief and the belief does not stick to you.
This way, you are free to discard old beliefs that do not serve you and gain new ones and then discard these news ones too and gain new ones as you walk along the path of life. This way, you open yourself to constant growth.
The downside to unconsciously identifying with your beliefs
If you hold on to your beliefs, and take those beliefs to be an integral part of you, you restrict yourself from growing. This is why we often find people who are full grown adults, but still have the beliefs or behavior patterns of a child.
Let’s look at an example to make things clear:
Let’s say that you believe in veganism. Now it’s perfectly fine to be a vegan, but what is not fine is demonising others simply because they do not subscribe to your belief. This generally happens when you become one with your belief so that you start deriving an identity from the belief.
Realize that you are not a vegan. It’s just one of your beliefs. And you are supposed to control your beliefs, not the other way round.
Become conscious of your beliefs to grow in life
You have the power of let go of beliefs and gain new ones as you progress through life and learn more.
Learning is infinite. There can be no point in your life when you can say that you know everything. In fact, there is not one person on planet earth who knows everything. Everyone is a work in progress. And how much you progress depends on how open you are with your beliefs.
Becoming aware of your beliefs, is making yourself open to learning and growing.
Do not let your beliefs define you, instead realize beliefs for what they are – mere beliefs and nothing else.
Once you realize this and become more like a lotus leaf, you not only become open to learning and growing, you also become more empathetic. Empathetic not only towards others, but also towards your own self.
And the more empathetic you are, the more you understand. The more you understand, the more you grow. And growth and learning are infinite.
Try to stay aware of your beliefs. I used the word ‘Try’, as it’s not always possible to stay aware. So become aware as and when you find the inspiration. Slowly, you will start to see your beliefs for what they are – temporary beliefs which can change as you evolve. And you realize that your beliefs don’t make you. You make your beliefs.